Friday, March 30, 2012

Countdown to Master Gardener's Sale...


Am I ready? Oh HELLLLL no!!!

Good News / Bad News: It's supposed to be raining Mountain Lions and Rottweilers tomorrow! Won't be much fun getting drenched in the rain. But - OTOH - I think that will keep a lot of people away (or, at the very least, the line-to-get-in won't start forming at zero-dark-thirty!).

I have NO doubt that the hard-core gardeners will still show up (I think that includes me and P!). And I'm sure it will still be a sell-out!

Back to Preparedness: Well, I *did* start to clean-out the greenhouse - somewhat. I had to tear-down all of the bubble-wrap that I'd taped to the walls and ceiling. It was useful - back when I over-wintered my marginals in there b/c it added a bit of insulation without cutting down on the light. Since then, it's gotten to where the bubble-wrap is falling down (and there were lots of - ICK! - Bug nests in it!). I also managed to chop-back the neighbor's vine that started growing up through the floor (Oooops - maybe I should have put landscape fabric down when we built the thing).

Speaking of squatters... Once again, Momma Mourning Dove has decided to set up housekeeping in my greenhouse (I *really* need to keep the door closed on that thing!).

New greenhouse tenant

I felt kinda bad, cleaning out the greenhouse. I think I may have frightened her to the point where she will abandon her nest. On the other hand, last year, I left her alone til the egg hatched. One afternoon, I walked in there and the fledgling scared the living crap out of me (and vice-versa, I'm sure!). He flopped around inside the (open) greenhouse and eventually flew out the door. But then he managed to fly back to the "main" yard, and got trapped in the space behind our cypress trees along the fence (narrow space - not big enough for a sloppy fledgling flier) and one of the dogs got him ("Ewwwwwww!!!!!"). Yeah, I felt SUPER bad about that!

In years past, she used to build her nest up above the pool equipment, ON the solar pipes. That was fine until we actually turned on the solar-heating system (generally *before* the eggs hatched). This would cause the pipes to shake to the point where the nest (and un-hatched eggs) fell from roof-level to the ground - with devastating results.

That poor bird! She *really* needs to find a new home!!!

Oops. I'm rambling! Ahhh - but it's relevant! Spring is in the air and I simply *must* prepare for my warm-season garden!

That includes having a PLACE to put the boatload of plants I will be purchasing tomorrow... ANNNNND Finny's Maters... ANNNNNND I am thinking about starting up my Hydro-Farm Mega-Garden and attempting to grow lettuce and maybe some (non-medicinal, NOT-ILLEGAL) herbs in there...

The Mega-Garden was a Christmas gift from hubs a few years back and I actually did grow tomatoes in it, successfully, through one winter. It was a nice "novelty" - having fresh tomatoes in winter - but they ended up growing waaaaay too big to be manageable in my greenhouse (picture makeshift pantyhose "trellises" tied to eyebolts in the ceiling), and they attracted whiteflies like CRAZY.

When it was all said and done: The fruit really didn't taste all that good, unfortunately. Maters need real-dirt and sunshine :-)

We do have a hydroponic supply store - just around the corner from me. Opened just a few weeks ago, so I wandered in to check it out. They were super-nice and helpful. Although I suspect they *may* cater to the "Medicinal-Herbs of Questionable Legality" growers! They had some absolutely MASSIVE hydroponic units that would fit in this reflective "stealth" DIY grow-room-tent kind of arrangement with HID lighting and massive ventilation fans, etc ("Does she or doesn't she? Only PG&E knows for sure!").

Nevertheless, I told them about my hydroponic unit "It's about yay big, an ebb-and-flow system." "The Mega-Garden." he replied. "Yes! And I'd like to grow lettuce and culinary herbs in it" blah-blah-blah. So I picked up some little grow-baskets and rooting medium, and he suggested I go to home depot and pick-up a styrofoam sheet to make a floating rack kinda thing.
Maybe I'll post pictures of that project - whenever I get around to making it!

My challenge is going to be growing "cool-season" leafy crops in the greenhouse - knowing that summer is right around the corner. Hell, the lettuces I planted outside before winter BOLTED almost immediately after the first rain!

Anyway - that's just ONE of the MANY gardening projects on my "To-Do" list.

Another one is getting the raised beds ready. I actually did start that, last weekend (that would have been part of my Pulitzer-Prize Winning post that never got written!). I did clear approximately half of the two raised beds (including weed-pulling!). I've left the artichokes, onions and garlic in - as well as the turnips and beets (I hope they "finish-up" before I have to start planting the 'maters) (Probably around mid- to late-April). I also dumped a couple of 1 cu. ft. bags of compost on the beds.

I'm waiting for Finny to post her annual "Test and Amend" ritual - then I'll *know* it's time to test the soil. Or maybe I'll scan back and re-read MY posts (which linked to Finny's posts!) to figure out when to do it!

So yeah, need to "make the beds!"

Plenty to do - Oh My Yes!!!

Tonight.... Well, tonight I will whip out my highlighter pen and mark-up the Tomato List for the Master Gardener's Sale tomorrow. Gotta prioritize and wrestle my way through the hordes of hardcore gardeners to make sure I get what I want!!!

I am totally looking forward to it!

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